Main Subject: “War – Poverty. The Orthodox viewpoint”

The 10th Annual General Assembly of the IAO for the year 2003 was realised in Vilnius, with the presence of the President of the Parliament of Lithuania Mr. Arturas Paulauskas.

The Central subject of the Assembly was “War – Poverty. The Orthodox viewpoint

Photo of the X IAO annual assembly participants
The President of the General Assembly of the IAO, Mr. Victor Zorkaltsev, deputy of the Russian Duma, chaired in the Assembly, while the President of the Parliament of Lithuania Mr. Arturas Paulauskas declared the beginning of the Assembly’s works and in his addressing speech he stressed the following:
“…. It is Lithuania’s great honour to host such an important event. The decision of the I.A.O. leaders to choose Lithuania as the venue implies that you are more than guests in our country. You are almost at home, as history has it that the first Orthodox churches were built in Lithuania 800 years ago…. Lithuania is the country that often used to be a threshold between the East and West… Therefore, the notion of a dialogue between civilisations has acquired a very symbolic meaning in Lithuania, particularly in Vilnius. I am convinced that the spirit of Vilnius will guarantee the success of your work during the I.A.O General Assembly in Vilnius. I believe that this spirit will assist you in your efforts, as the issues discussed here are of vital importance to all nations and states worldwide…”

Metropolite of France, Mr. Emmanuel, represented the Ecumenical Patriarch Mr. Bartholomew. The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, in his message to the participants stressed the following:
“… We wish with all our heart success to this meeting, where a subject with great impact in our days, will be approached and discussed from different viewpoints concerning the sufferings that poverty and infelicity are accumulating through the fratricide wars between populations. Thus, the Church of Christ upholds the wise creations by the hands of the glorious God and our nature, which deteriorates from our devastating interventions, consents with us, the sinners and guilty and not only uninterruptedly wishes for peace around the world, but also through intellectual ways and means becomes an accessory to the consolidation of peace and the respect of life and personality of every person, while considering them as equivalent and valued children of our Father in heaven. …”

Respectively, Mr. Valery Alexeev, advisor to the I.A.O, addressed message of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, Mr. Alexios, which stressed among others:
¨…. Your Assembly, which is organized in the historical land of Lithuania, where Christianity has profound historical roots, is called to examine while having intense the Orthodox perception, the present problems caused by the disastrous military conflicts and the increase of poverty in the world. We cannot leave unnoticed the evident cross-correlation between these two devastating phenomena, because the causes of wars and poverty for entire populations, often serve the escalation of evil and greed of the rich. In the present dreary reality, there is lack of human compassion, hope and faith in justice, increase of pessimism and uncertainty of tomorrow, weakening of the moral values, flourishing of unappeased consuming models in the society, sordid instincts of greed and selfishness ¨

The deputy, Mr. Dimitrios Alabanos, member of the Greek delegation to the I.A.O, read welcoming message of the President of the Greek Parliament, Mr. Apostolos Kaklamanis, which stressed among others:
¨… We are called today to approach a big issue, a political, social and economic phenomenon?. We are called to send around the world the message of the revealing truth, that love, acceptance and respect for others, beyond race or nation, political, religious or other beliefs, comprise the only way for humanizing the world. This respect is a characteristic element of the Orthodox perception and the essence of the Christian concept. Orthodoxy is called to bring, this humane message, not only in Europe but all around the world, while projecting the ideal of peace and the avoidance of violence, the need for the confrontation of poverty and deprival, the obligation of healing each plague of man…. ¨

Respectively, Mr. Vladimir Medvedev, member of the IAO Secretariat, read a message of the President of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, Mr. Gennadiy Seleznev, which stressed among others:
¨… The subject of the present Assembly touches upon two serious issues of concern for all mankind. Unfortunately, the events testify that wars, as well as, poverty, were always devastating in the process of state building and only peace establishes conditions for the stable growth of economy and the struggle against poverty while, creating future prospects for well-being. It is not a coincidence that the Church considers as greatest virtue, the pursuit of peace and the support of our fellowmen…. ¨

The Secretary General of the I.A.O, Mr. Stylianos-Angelos Papathemelis in his inaugural speech stressed:
¨…. In our days, the world is acquainted with conditions of new savagery. Since 1989, 61 wars are enumerated, with hundreds of thousands dead and 17 million refugees, while a dramatic deterioration of inequalities unfolds in the world. 30 million of people are dying every year from hunger. 800 million are malnourished. Even though, the G7 in Cologne decided to reduce the debt of the 41 poorest countries, no one until now, has materialized this decision. The universal new liberal model has rejected the objective of complete employment and has substituted it with the objective of fighting inflation, more privatizations and even larger deregulation of the markets. All these, result to an overcharge of the third world, but simultaneously tragic pockets of poverty within the same developed and overdeveloped countries. The new geo-political architecture of the unique superpower, which mutates into an empire with the newly found dogma of “preventive wars” by the name of the incredible “right of self-defense”, already causes a chain of international complexity with the new practices in the inter-country relations and the circumvention and perfect weakening of the UN. At the same time, the ecosystem is found to be in utmost danger. However, another world, in persistence to the current situations, is feasible. The leaderships should be activated, as well as, the parliaments, political parties, trade unions, Media and the new forms of resistance and action (Seattle, Genoa etc.) should be strengthened and the forces of good should be synchronized with the world’s vision for a just and more humane world. A world of justice, love and freedom…. ¨

Finally, the President of the General Assembly of the I.A.O, Mr. Victor Zorkaltsev, said the following:
“.. The subject of this year’s Assembly is profound and versatile?. The latest global events confirm how timely the subject we examine is. In our days, armed combats become such a usual phenomenon, that there is not enough time to mourn victims. If we look into our history, we will not be astonished that during the so called barbarian times of the past, war acts were more humane, whereas in our technologically advanced times, people are exterminated massively?I call you not only to discuss it but also to prepare proposals for the parliaments and the governments of our countries. To propose to them the most precious to us resort, the eternal intellectual experience of Orthodoxy, which gives answers to all the questions, which arise in our societies. I have the conviction, with the collaboration of politics with science and theology, that we will be able to delimit the constructive work for the protection of peace, as well as, for the prosperous existence of all our intellectual – political community. I consider that we all should be guided by the following moral rule: the basic means against war is peace and against poverty is caring for our fellowman….”.

Delegations from 15 parliaments – members of the I.A.O participated in the Assembly:
Greece, Russia, Cyprus, Albania, Australia, Belarus, Georgia, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Ukraine,. In addition, delegations from USA, Palestine, Belgium, and Parliament of Uganda, as well as, a representative from the organisation ” SYNDESMOS” of the Orthodox youths.

The venue for the 11th General Assembly for the year 2004 was decided to be Kiev, Ukraine.

The General Assembly elected the new organs of IAO and adopted.




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